It is extremely exciting and humbling to announce our partnership with a life-long inspiration, Al Diaz aka Bomb I; NYC graffiti pioneer and co-founder of the mythical art duo SAMO© with the iconic Jean-Michel Basquiat. The pair used the title, accompanied by short phrases, in turns poetic and sarcastic, spray painted on the streets of downtown Manhattan starting in 1977. Art critic Jeffery Deitch called it “disjointed street poetry” and remembered that “Back in the late seventies, you couldn’t go anywhere interesting in Lower Manhattan without noticing that someone named SAMO© had been there first.” One Basquiat biographer noted that "while some of the phrases might seem political, none of them were simple propaganda slogans. Some were outright surrealist, or looked like fragments of poetry." Al recognized the original intelligence in their work: “The stuff you see on the subways now is inane. Scribbled. SAMO© was like a refresher course because there’s some kind of statement being made. It’s not just ego graffiti.” The project would cumulate in early 1980 with the final "SAMO© IS DEAD" tags being issued immediately before Jean-Michel switched his focus to canvases and gallery work. Diaz went on to pursue music, playing on the seminal Basquiat produced Hip-Hop song "Beat Bop" by K-Rob and Rammellzee, and other personal visual work.
After a 35 year hiatus Al has triumphantly resurrected the SAMO@ moniker and the art world and society as a whole are better for it. 2017 will see an ongoing series of collaborations between House of Roulx and Al's SAMO© work. The first project is a curated Instagram account featuring all new SAMO© pieces, both public street art and original ink on ceramic tile. Please follow and share the official @samocopyrightdotdotdot for continuous SAMO© musings, aphorisms, artwork and announcements documenting this historic rebirth.